Living in HawaiiCredit:

Yeah, you read the title right!  Your Hawaii Vacation is going to cost you a lot of money.  I’m going to show you a way to save up to $700 just by packing the right things and paying an extra bag fee!  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind someone showing me how to save more than $700 on vacation just by packing smarter!

Hawaii really is a destination of paradise.  When you take your Hawaiian vacation you will soon find out why so many people just decide to stay here and make the islands their permanent home.  However, just like them, you too will soon find out that taking a vacation or living in Hawaii can turn into one of the most expensive vacation experiences you’ll ever have.

There is a way to keep your visit to Hawaii cheaper than what it normally would be, though.  Make a Hawaiian vacation kit!  Sound silly? Well, here’s the logic:  What you bring with you to Hawaii will almost certainly be cheaper to buy where you’re at, especially “touristy” type of stuff.  

How to Build Your Hawaiian Vacation Kit And Save Lots of Money

Oahu beautyCredit:

Sure, airport luggage costs money-a lot of money depending on who you have booked with.  However, what if I told you that for the cost of one large, additional check-in piece of luggage that you could save hundreds on your stay in paradise?  Would that change your mind?

Well, that’s it.  Buy a large bag (I’m talking “military duffel bag” large) and pay for it to accompany you on your trip.  Pack it full! Even pay the extra charge if it’s over the allowed poundage for check-in (usually 55 lbs. on most airline carriers.)  It will be worth it, believe me. 

**Estimated savings are based on bringing with you versus buying or renting for 2 while on the Hawaiian Islands

What to Put in Your Hawaiian Vacation Kit Bag

Hawaiian Shirts: 

Everyone wants to wear them.  And believe me, they are everywhere down here.  You’ll save lots of money if you buy these kinds of shirts during the off months in your area or, better yet, order them online for a huge discount.  Oh, and…psst…(whisper) no one will ever know that you didn’t buy that shirt on the mainland. 

Estimated Savings:  $40 to $60

Maui BeachCredit: http://dowdledaily

Beach Towels:

Pack these! This is part of what I call "impulse Hawaiian buying syndrome" that many people run into.  People will get to the islands on vacation with every intention of going to the beach but not pack stuff like a beach towel!  Believe me, they’re expensive here-especially in the places you’re likely to find them such as beachfront stores and kiosks or hotel gift shops. And, believe me, those hotel towels you plan on sneaking to the beach every day just don’t cut it as beach towels.

Estimated Savings:  $13 to $25

Hawaiian Hawaii Large Beach, Pool, Bath Towel 30'' x 60'' Towel
Amazon Price: $19.48 $12.99 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 26, 2014)


Another over-expensive item all over the islands!  Pack the bottle of sunscreen that  you have in your cabinets at home or buy a bottle or two before you travel.  Sunscreen is an item that you can’t do without in Hawaii, for comfort and skin health-so if you don’t buy cheap before you come then there’s almost no way to avoid the high cost once you get here.

Estimated Savings:  $15

sun bathingCredit:

Sun Hats:

“Oh, what a lovely hat,” I heard my wife say.  And there it was.  $30 dollars out the window.  Again, this is part of the Hawaii impulse buy syndrome.  Buy a cheap, but nice, beach/sun hat before you leave the mainland and pack it into that extra bag.

Estimated Savings:  $40 to $50

Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Sun Hats, Fossil, One Size
Amazon Price: $30.00 $24.98 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 26, 2014)

Extra Bathing Suit:

What do you do when you only have one bathing suit and one is full of sand and salt and is still drying?  Well, if you didn’t pack an extra in your Hawaiian Vacation kit then you go out and buy one for about $30 to $100!  Crazy!  I bet you have about 4 to 5 bathing suits or trunks in your home right now that you could pack before getting on the plane, right?  If you want to buy a new one for your vacation, that’s fine.  Buy it where you live and pack an old one as an extra one.

Estimated Savings:  $30 to $50

Waimea Falls splendidCredit:

A Good Backpack:

“Hey, honey, why don’t we go hiking tomorrow?”  Forehead slap! You didn’t bring hiking gear.  Especially a backpack for snacks, hats, water, camera, film, batteries, etc.   So, what’s the next impulse line of thought that happens:  "Well, we’re in Hawaii.  We may never get the chance to hike in Hawaii again.  Ok.  So buy or rent some hiking stuff".  Bad idea.  Renting will cost and having a good backpack to walk around and sight-see in will be a great asset. 

Estimated Savings:  $40 to $75

Columbia Treadlite 16 Backpack (Black/ Compass Blue, One Size)
Amazon Price: $115.00 $80.43 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 26, 2014)

Walking Shoes:

You’ll be surprise at the amount of people who just bring the shoes they have on during the plane ride and a pair of flip-flops on their Hawaiian vacation.  “Heck, we’re just gonna’ be on the beach all day anyway.”  Okay, even if that’s true then some beach destinations have parking areas that can be a little bit of a hike to get to like Hanauma Bay and the Ko’Olina Lagoons.  Besides, you’re not going to be on the beach all the time.  It’s hard to hike in flip-flops. 

Estimated Savings:  $75 to $90

Beach shoes:

These are also a good idea and the source of many impulse Hawaii buys.  Walking on beaches, on rocks and coral can tear up some feet and even blow out a pair of flip-flops.  (Ode to Jimmy Buffet, right there!)  Beach shoes are expensive in Hawaii.  Pack a pair in your kit.

Estimated Savings:  $25 to $45

Underwater Camera:

Hanauma Bay Review snorkelingCredit: Ken Muise

Okay, so this is the most expensive item on this list.  You’ll be happy you brought it, thought.  Even if you don’t plan on doing anything like snorkeling or scuba, then the peace of mind that you have knowing if you drop your camera into the surf  it will still be safe is something that you can’t put a price on. 

This is one underwater camera (up to 20ft) that I highly recommend and that has helped me take some beautiful pictures (both above and under-water) during my stay in Hawaii.

Estimated Savings:  $25 to $200 (depending on whether you opt for disposable or not)

Fujifilm FinePix XP60 16.4MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Blue)
Amazon Price: $179.95 $139.00 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 26, 2014)

Extra Batteries:

Okay, you might call me a “cheap-skate” at this one. Seriously, though.  Batteries are expensive enough anywhere.  Imagine buying them in a tourist trap or a hotel gift shop?  Holy crap!

Estimated Savings:  $15

Download and Print Maps and Brochures: 

Maps cost money. Some brochures or informational products cost money.  You can save all of it buy printing it off at home or work and building a book before you get to Hawaii.

Estimated Savings:  $25

Snorkeling at Hanauma BayCredit: Ken Muise

Snorkel Gear:

This is the only questionable item on this list.  It’s one of the only things that I can think of that you will have room to pack in your kit that will cost you money when you rent at popular places on Hawaii, or worst yet…buy it when you get here.

A set of snorkel gear will cost you $12 to $20 to rent for a day here in Hawaii.  So, depending on how many days you want that snorkel gear available to you…it may be wise to pack a snorkeling set that you can get online for less and pack it. 

Estimated Savings:  $24 to $72 (based on $12 per set for two people for 1 to 2 days)

Aviator Sports Set
Amazon Price: $19.99 $19.95 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 26, 2014)

Total Savings With a Hawaiian Vacation Kit

Mind. Blown. Face. Palm.

Total Low Ball Savings:  $367

Total High End Savings:  $722

Total Savings Equals:  $207 to $562!!!

This is even when we subtract $160 dollars for the price of an extra, large bag to check in on your flight (to include extra bag fee and over-weight charge) you have saved can save a total of $207 to $562!!

Save Money on Meals During Your Hawaiian Vacation

Bonus information:

While some of this may seem like common sense to some, it may not occur to many while in the thrill of the “I’m going to Hawaii” ecstasy state-of-mind.  Take time to consider the following, though.

There’s no way to get around spending money getting to and staying in Hawaii.  There are ways to keep it cheaper though. 

Book flights during the “off season” 

While it may be cold during times of the year where you live, Hawaii stays near perfect all year round.  Book your travel during summer months where you’re at and you’ll find it a bit cheaper than in the winter months when everyone wants to escape the snow and cold.  This time of year will also give you a bit of a better rate at most of the vacation hotels and resorts.

Spend Some Time Living Outdoors

If you’re even a little bit of an adventurous type try to consider camping for some duration during your vacation in Hawaii.  Even one night will curb the cost of a hotel!  The weather in Hawaii is near perfect and superb for camping in a tent or cabin.  There are many opportunities to this type of thing on the Hawaiian Islands.

Shop at Popular Superstore Chains and Not Tourist Traps

If you have to buy any of the items on the list above then do so at places like Walmart or Target.  Stay away from tourist places.  The prices even at superstore chains are more expensive on Hawaii than the mainland but nowhere near as pricey as tourist traps in Waikiki and such.

This is when you say “Mahalo”

And I say, "You’re Welcome".